UNICEF appeals for $200 million for Ebola response in West Africa

About 8.5 million children and youth live in areas affected by Ebola in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia

Photos and video from Ebola-affected countries can be downloaded from: http://uni.cf/1xZAb39 

TORONTO, Sept. 16, 2014 /CNW/ - UNICEF said today it needs more than $200 million to respond to the Ebola outbreak that has claimed over 2,400 lives and ravaged communities across West Africa. This is part of a broader, six-month appeal for $987.8 million that governments and humanitarian agencies require to fight the disease.

"No single organization can contain the spread of Ebola alone. We all must work together to stop Ebola in its tracks," says David Morley, UNICEF Canada's President and CEO. "Children's lives and futures are under grave threat as this disease devastates families and communities, closes schools and destroys health systems."

"This is a crisis of enormous proportions and requires immediate and sustained action to save lives and stop the rampant spread of the disease. We're pleased that the Government of Canada has continued to support efforts to address the spread of Ebola in West Africa with funding for aid and personal protective equipment. We encourage Canada to continue its timely and effective support as this crisis evolves."  

Of the $200 million appeal, nearly $65 million will go to UNICEF's programs in Liberia, around $61 million to Sierra Leone and more than $55 million to Guinea. An additional $10 million will help neighbouring countries be prepared for a potential spread of the disease within their borders. The remaining $9 million are required for regional coordination efforts.

UNICEF estimates that 8.5 million children and young people under the age of 20 live in areas affected by Ebola in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Of these, 2.5 million are under the age of five.

From working with communities to raise awareness of the disease and providing essential hygiene supplies since the first days of the outbreak, UNICEF has stepped up its response as Ebola continues its deadly spiral. The children's agency, present in all affected countries, has been rushing in essential supplies and providing life-saving information in the heart of affected communities on how families can protect themselves.

Examples of such effort by UNICEF and its partners include:

  • With support from the World Bank, Japan and USAID, airlifting 544 metric tonnes of supplies to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with almost 50 flights since early August. These supplies include protective equipment, hygiene items and essential medicines.
  • Supporting the Government of Sierra Leone in conducting a three-day public awareness campaign, 19-21 September, by helping train volunteers and providing accurate information on Ebola.
  • Installing water and sanitation facilities in Ebola treatment units in the three countries.
  • Training community health volunteers, teachers and others and help spread life-saving information on Ebola.
  • Working to avert non-Ebola disease outbreaks and provide basic services to women and children.
  • Providing psychosocial support to children affected by Ebola.

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

SOURCE: UNICEF Canada

For further information: Tiffany Baggetta, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8892, 647-308-4806 (mobile), tbaggetta@unicef.ca

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http://www.unicef.ca

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